(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Congresswoman Liz Cheney, all R-Wyo., voiced their strong disapproval of the Department of Defense’s plan to move the Bells of Balangiga memorial from F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne to the Philippines according to a news release from the Wyoming Delegation.
Defense Secretary James Mattis began the steps of transferring the bells after notifying Congress that it was in the interest of U.S. national security.
The removal of the bells is opposed by the majority of Wyoming’s veterans, including the American Legion and Wyoming Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars, according to the news release.
“For over 100 years the Bells of Balangiga have been in Wyoming as a memorial to the American soldiers who lost their lives overseas,” the Wyoming delegation said. “A majority of Wyoming veterans continue to oppose any efforts to deconstruct or disturb this veteran’s memorial. While we have respect for the relationship between the United States and the Government of the Philippines, we believe that moving the Bells establishes a dangerous precedent for future veterans’ memorials. We have a strong tradition of honoring the sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform. These bells are memorials to American war dead and should not be transferred to the Philippines. We oppose any efforts by the Administration to move the Bells to the Philippines without the support of Wyoming’s veterans community.”
On September 28, 1901, the Bells of Balangiga were used by Filipino insurgents to launch the massacre on Company C, 9th Infantry, at Balangiga, Samar, Philippines. Forty-eight out of seventy-five American soldiers, including all officers were either killed, died of wounds or were listed as missing and presumed dead. The bells were brought back to Fort D. A. Russell after the massacre.